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Is the Church Helping or Hurting the Spread of the Gospel? 


Sweet friends, I am going to dig into some issues tonight because I want us to think about them, pray about them, and examine the question, “Are we representing God (Yahweh), the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, or trying to bully the world into thinking our way? Do we only love some people or everyone?”
Addressing the spirit of religion…

Sometimes the “Christian” way of thinking is not God at all. It is the spirit of religion which is oppressive, demeaning to women, hateful to those who are different or do not agree, full of control, legalism, pride, bullying, self righteousness, and manipulation. It is more concerned about being “right in it’s own eyes,” than loving thy neighbor. It’s void of agape love (unconditional, sacrificial, unselfish love). It is void of Jesus. It is antichrist. It is brutal. If you stand against the spirit of religion, or the idols behind it you may receive a tongue lashing or beating. 

If you do not live in America or do not know Jesus, please do not use the American church as the standard for what God is like. Look to Jesus. He perfectly represents the Father. Please open your bible and examine Jesus. He is still working on His Church so she loves like Him and follows Him. God loves you. 

Please do not allow the behavior of some unloving/misbehaving “Christians” to run you away from God. There are some incredible people who love Jesus and represent Him well in the western church, there is still room for improvement in the body of Christ overall. We are growing in maturity, hopefully. 🙂 

The aftermath of Election 2016…

Some of the evangelical church and charismatic church seemed to back one candidate and demonize the other and anyone who did not agree. It was okay to hurl insults, slander, gossip, dishonor, break friendships, verbally lash people, have a nasty attitude, and act like a crazy person all in the name of God. 

I want you to know God is not a manipulator or control freak. God is also not rude or spiteful. He is not the author of confusion or a lunatic. 

I have yet to see God try to guilt or bully me into doing something. He comes in love then allows me to choose. The devil is pushy, controlling, manipulative, arrogant, selfish, and gets very angry when he does not get his way. There were people who told me, “You need to vote for this person because this person had a prophesy. If you vote for that person, well you are going to hell.” No, I test all prophecies, and I need to pray and seek the Lord for myself. 

I am not a part of group think. I am following Jesus. People are not God. If we truly trusted God, bullying and manipulation would not be needed. Also regardless of the candidates positions, we are called to imitate Jesus. The nastiness that has been spewed out by some believers has been just as bad as the world. We are called to be salt and light. 

God is not a bully… 

We see in the Garden of Eden God gave Adam and Eve a choice. He told Adam not to eat from the tree of good and evil, yet Adam and Eve could still choose evil. 

I have been floored by the lack of God love from some believers during and after this election. I even went to God, “How do you feel about women, brown/yellow/dark brown people, foreigners…because some of Your children make it seem as though You only love some people. Please help me to understand. Please help.” My entire life I was taught God loves everyone. This election, some of the church sent the message, “God loves certain people. If you agree with us then He loves you. If you don’t, then you are not loved.” My views are attatched to the Gospel, to Jesus. Yet I did not feel the need to demonize anyone. Neither candidate stood as Jesus, nor represented fully His heart for the world in my opinion. And it’s not just over political views. This election brought out the inner bigot/racist in some people. What was hidden under praise the Lord surfaced in, “Those people.” 

I am being quite sincere in sharing my thoughts. At first I thought internally, “Do not put your thoughts out there.” It has gotten me pretty beat up by Christians in the past. Then I thought, ” Let them beat me because someone needs to say it loudly, ‘Refusing to love is sin. If you hate anyone, you can not claim to love God (1 John 4:8).’” Withholding love and apathy is a form of hatred. If we can watch another suffer and say, “That’s not my problem,” our love tank is running low or empty. Jesus loves everyone. If we lack love or compassion, we can not put that on God. 

You may be thinking, “How could you think this way, America just had 8 years under Obama. Hidden Figures is bringing in the money at the box office. Women are empowered. A woman ran for President. We are all one big happy family.”  I can say this as someone who walks around with tan/light brown skin and as a female; racism and sexism are still a problem in the world and it is still an issue in the global church. Not just racism or sexism, but the lack of love or honor for anyone who votes differently or has a varying opinion. If you do not believe me, scroll through some Facebook or Social Media or even church tv programs, look at the comments. I dare you to disagree with someone on an issue. 

Let me take out my bible and slap you senseless with it. I bet you feel stupid now.” And the Christian who proved to the internet or world how much Bible they know, just wounded a bunch of people and made God look like a unloving bully. Not sure how that makes people want to know Jesus, but it happens. I have encountered it over and over. 

I have athiest and agnostic associates who were driven away from God and the church by an unloving church and unloving Christians. I have had seasons in my own life where I have said,”God I love You, yet some of Your children are so very mean or unloving. Can I please have a pass not to fellowship today?

Hateful, unloving, apathetic Christians affect the spreading of the Gospel. The “I am saved. I can treat people how I want. You can’t judge me, there’s no condemnation for me,” is impacting the lost. Why seek a God with followers who are hateful and unloving when you can find some acceptance in the world? 

God is love…

Are we loving the world? Are we drawing people to Christ by our actions or repelling them? 

I have heard people say, “I have not seen any issues,” so that means the issue does not exist. Well, sweet friends, America and the entire world has a long way to go to represent Jesus as He is. I am sure He is not enjoying the fighting, offense, slander, judging, racism, sexism, I hate liberals, gossip, self righteousness, I’ve had enough of “those” people, beating people with the bible, lack of love, celebrating the suffering of another person, etc…He said very plainly, “As I have loved you, love one another. The world will know My disciples by their love. Love your enemies.” 

Jesus did not say you will know My followers by their opinions or political views, or their denomination or country of origin, or their skin color, nor by their church attendance or tithing. You can go to church and still go to hell. 

A country and world in need of an agape love revolution…

This election brought out the boil on the bottom of America we refused to acknowledge. We have some deep spiritual problems that need addressed in the church. While pointing a finger at the world, we have three pointed back at us. Do we know Jesus? We need Jesus. Are we representing Jesus?  We have some idols that need cast down. Some of them being politics, politicians, self, patriotism, and church leaders. Loving people and sharing the Gospel is far more important than who they voted for. 

We have some heart issues that need healed and mended. There is no amount of legislation that can fix heart issues. We need Jesus. There is still a void of agape love from the church for the world. There is still a void of receiving God’s love. We can only give away the love we have received. 

Ditching those people need Jesus…we all need Jesus. 

Oh those people, they just need Jesus!” We all need Jesus. Did you (we) love “those” people? “Well ‘those’ people are hurting our country or they are reprobate.” Are we sinless? Did we perfectly represent Jesus today? If not, we can put down our bible billy club and thank the good Lord for mercy. 

Not sure why, yet sometimes being saved leads to abounding self righteousness and pride. It is “us” vs. “them”. Do we forget no person was born saved? Do we (the global church) care about the spreading of the Gospel and loving our neighbor or just promoting our ideals and political agenda?

America the Melting Pot…

 “Those people need to go back to their country.” Well, America had inhabitants before European settlers arrived here. They were Natives, Mexicans, and some Africans. Some of my ancestors were on this land before it was “discovered.” 

America is a melting pot of immigrants. If you are not Native, slamming other ethnic groups and telling them they do not belong is childish. I believe in due process of citizenship, yet many ethnic groups including Europeans migrated to America. So if everyone has to go back to their country that leaves some Natives, some Mexicans, and a few Africans to stay. 

Are we loving the ones God sends…

Please come to our church, pay tithes, serve, and if you get out of line we are going to beat you senseless with the Bible and withhold love. Oh, and you need to think like us and vote like us or you’re going to hell.” Sounds harsh right. Yet I have seen it. I have experienced some of my worst verbal assaults, betrayals, heartaches from “Christians.” Singing and clapping on Sunday, cussing me out or talking crazy on Monday. On a positive note,  I thank God for the loving Christians there are in the world and this country. I pray we all have deep encounters with God’s love. May the global church be known by the agape love of God. 

Ditch us vs them…

In our world there are so many categories of them. Do we care about “them” or is it, “That’s their problem. Give me my Starbucks and leave me alone. I will pray for ‘them.’“Yet that is not the love Jesus showed the world. He did not say to the Father, “Forget them. They sinned. That’s their problem.” Jesus died for all even the most wicked of sinners. There was no “them” to be left behind or cast aside or ignored. What if God treated us the way we treat the world?

Is the church ignoring or mistreating the very people Jesus came to die for? How would Jesus treat “them”. 

I prefer we are all one race of people, human. Men and women have equal value to God. The foreigner and the native born are uniquely and passionately loved.

I stand with Jesus! 

God SO loved the world…

It is not enough for the church to love the unborn. We need to love the person right in front of us. We need to love the Native, the African, the Mexican, the South American, the Canadian, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Middle Easterner, the Indian, the Greek, the Norwegian, the Russian, the Australian, the British, the whole world! 

It is not God bless America and no place else! It is God bless the world! The entire world!! 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is everyone but Jesus has sinned and is in need of a Savior. Jesus gave His life for ALL. Repent (change your mind about sin), confess your sins to God, believe Jesus is the Son of God, ask Him to be Lord of your life. Do not stop there, follow Jesus! Do what you see Him doing. He loved the least, last, lost! 

God loves the whole world! 

May born again believers not only know the Gospel, but abide in Jesus to live the Gospel. Jesus loves the world! John 3:16. The lost need to see Jesus in us the hope of glory. 

Bless you, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Know the Author (God)

  

Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near,~Jeremiah 55:6.

The platform and foundation of my life is intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is so crucial to understanding the Word of God and living an abundant life. 

One of my life verses is John 15:5. Jesus said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one, in perfect communion, unity. If we are to know God, we must abide in Him. 

Over the years I’ve met so many people who can quote me verses of the Bible and miss the heart of God. Even some who can defend their prejudice or sexism based on passages of the Bible. People defended slavery with the Bible. People still defend sexism with the Bible or the oppression of women. I began to investigate why so many people had an image of God that did not match up with the whole of scripture or the heart of God. 

We are trained to memorize the Bible instead of allow the Bible to lead us into an encounter with the One who inspired it. 

I grew up in church. We went several times a week. My dad is a pastor and evangelist. My mum was my Sunday school teacher. I heard the Bible over and over and over. I watched my parents live it. Yet it wasn’t until later in life that I truly began to get to know God on an intimate level. What changed? This burning desire grew inside of me to know His voice and know Him on a deeper level. I read in the Bible that God showed up and revealed Himself to His people. He wanted relationship. 

The foundation for growing relationship is communication and it is also built on experience. 

God longs to connect with us. Talking to God is great. Hearing His voice and listening to Jesus pray, that’s life giving. Living life with God instead of Him being a Sunday morning activity is the best. 

I wrote a book. I write Standard Operating Procedures. If you simply read what I write, talk to me about your problems, visit me once a week, and never inquire of me or listen to me, you will not know me. If you only spend time with me in the same setting, you won’t truly know me. The people who have camped in the jungle with me on missions know more about me than those who meet with me for coffee every so often. We forged intimacy through proximity and life experiences, some of them quite challenging. Those who have done missions with me don’t know me like those who have been roommates. I’m not extroverted. I spend lots of time reading and being alone with God. Those who live with me know I’m not a social butterfly. I’ve learned and by the help of the Holy Spirit how to engage with large groups, be outgoing. He’s teaching and helping me continually. Also intimacy (knowing, oneness) with God leads me to want to love and connect with people. 

The Bible is to lead us into an encounter with God, not replace relationship with God. 

His word reveals Him, it does not contain Him,~Kris Vallotton. 

There’s also a level of intimacy that is forged in challenging seasons. Those who attempt to bypass all challenges in life forgo the opportunity to know the power, sustaining power, comfort, healing, and miraculous works of God. During the hardest seasons of my life, a best friendship was forged with God. I learned He’d sing me to sleep when I was crying tears no one saw but me and Him. I learned He’d feed me when I was working three jobs trying to complete two degrees. I learned God would defend me when I suffered under 7 years of persecution (some at work and some through Christians). I learned God was stronger than death as I faced near death experience after another! 7 of those too…if I count right. I learned the sustaining comfort of God when I had to bury my mum. I learned the provision of God as He sent people to send checks in the mail during times of crisis. I learned the love of God (still learning) through all the peaks and valleys we’ve been through together! Don’t bypass the process of getting to know God in every season.

So, for you and I…I pray we seek God and have continual dialogue with Him. One associate joked that all I do is pray (like I’m locked in a closet somewhere all day). Nope. I have continual dialogue with God (that’s prayer). At the grocery, at the park, at work, in the car, working out, playing guitar…all day my heart and spirit is open to His. 

I leave you with these keys that have been deposited along this journey.

1. God wants an intimate (knowing, oneness) relationship, to be the closest person to us. 

2. God speaks. 

3. God will not violate His Word, He will challenge and expand our understanding of His Word. To truly understand His Word, we need to know the Author and be led by the Holy Spirit. 

4. God is love and He is holy. There’s a love movement that forsakes holiness and it’s not of God, nor is it grace. God will never condone sin because He is holy and Jesus died to free us from slavery to sin. 

5. God is good. If what I’m experiencing now isn’t good, I can trust God will work it for eventual good. My definition of good may not match God’s. He never ceases to be good. 

6. Asking God for wisdom is wisdom. 

7. Humility leads to greater understanding. He is God. I am not.

8. God is infinite. He continues to reveal another aspect of who He is. He doesn’t fit or belong in a box. The beauty is getting to know Him over time. He’s an abounding treasure! 

9. God wants to be known by us. More than we want Him, He wants us. 

10. When we seek Him, we find Him. Intimacy with God is worth pursuing. 

Love you dear ones. Lifting you up! Have a blessed week. May it overflow with God encounters and intimacy with God. You are SO deeply loved (John 3:16). 

Love in Christ, 

Erin 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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